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Greece Expat Forum for Expats Living in Greece Have you made Greece your new home? Are you thinking about making Greece your new country of residence? Have you got a second home in Greece? Join our Greece Expats forum and discuss food, meet friends, talk property, finances and much much more.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2009, 10:40 AM
 
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Default Help getting started

Myself and my wife, are considering changing the rat race of the UK and heading out to Greece for a slower paced life style.

At the moment we are favouring Rhodes due to some great holidays and the pace of life being very appealing.

We have come up with a business concept idea that i think could work - although more research is needed and i feel that at least one of us would have to find a job initially if not while we proved we could get the idea of the ground.

As neither my wife or me have ever lived abroad and have never run our own business I can say that looking on the web has thrown up a lot of things that are giving us second thoughts but I figured the best next step would be to ask if anyone out there has done what we are contemplating and could give some advice and guidance and let us know if it's something we should seriously consider continuing with. This being a current pipe dream but one I can't seem to let go off.

I work for a large banking institution in IT and the future of which is in doubt as jobs must go in the next 2-3 years so it may present a good opportunity to get out while we can, and my wife she works for a company who's future is also in doubt.

We are both early 30's have a mortgaged property in the uk with 5 years already payed off so would be looking to use the capital of the house to buy \ rent a property on the island - but like other posts on the site it appears many of the websites are showing extremely expensive prices so could also do with advice on where to start with a view that the house \ flat could double up as non customer facing business premises also.

We want this to be more that a dream but need some good advice on where to start and how to start up business and any potential pitfalls t watch out for - can we do a start up for a small amount of outlay and as non Greek speaking what should we consider first?

PS I'm starting learning Greek but as a 31year old I find this harder to do that when learning other languages at school - so I hope an immersive surrounding would help me pick up things better.

Feel free to contact me via email.

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Old 4th October 2009, 11:05 AM
 
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Hi

My friend and I are in exactly the same position Recently started looking into movig to Greece maybe we could swap contact details and share any useful information we come up with.

Chrissy


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Lycett View Post
Myself and my wife, are considering changing the rat race of the UK and heading out to Greece for a slower paced life style.

At the moment we are favouring Rhodes due to some great holidays and the pace of life being very appealing.

We have come up with a business concept idea that i think could work - although more research is needed and i feel that at least one of us would have to find a job initially if not while we proved we could get the idea of the ground.

As neither my wife or me have ever lived abroad and have never run our own business I can say that looking on the web has thrown up a lot of things that are giving us second thoughts but I figured the best next step would be to ask if anyone out there has done what we are contemplating and could give some advice and guidance and let us know if it's something we should seriously consider continuing with. This being a current pipe dream but one I can't seem to let go off.

I work for a large banking institution in IT and the future of which is in doubt as jobs must go in the next 2-3 years so it may present a good opportunity to get out while we can, and my wife she works for a company who's future is also in doubt.

We are both early 30's have a mortgaged property in the uk with 5 years already payed off so would be looking to use the capital of the house to buy \ rent a property on the island - but like other posts on the site it appears many of the websites are showing extremely expensive prices so could also do with advice on where to start with a view that the house \ flat could double up as non customer facing business premises also.

We want this to be more that a dream but need some good advice on where to start and how to start up business and any potential pitfalls t watch out for - can we do a start up for a small amount of outlay and as non Greek speaking what should we consider first?

PS I'm starting learning Greek but as a 31year old I find this harder to do that when learning other languages at school - so I hope an immersive surrounding would help me pick up things better.

Feel free to contact me via email.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2009, 11:11 AM
 
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Hi Chrissy, yes I'd like to do that.
Currently looking at a few websites but as i'm a new member i don't think i can post url's as yet..

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2009, 11:11 AM
 
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I think once i hit 4 posts then i'm able...

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Old 4th October 2009, 11:14 AM
 
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Yes I am the same. Went to the place in the sun exhibition yesterday, got a couple of contacts there. My email address is [email protected]

Send me your email address and I can forward the details to you.

Chrissy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Lycett View Post
Hi Chrissy, yes I'd like to do that.
Currently looking at a few websites but as i'm a new member i don't think i can post url's as yet..

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2009, 11:18 AM
 
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Many thanks my email address is [email protected]

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Old 4th October 2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Lycett View Post
Many thanks my email address is [email protected]
Emailed Chrissy - if anyone else has similar experience or has already made the jump to Rhodes \ other greece islands - i'd be interested in hearing from you.

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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 16th November 2009, 09:20 AM
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Hi

We came to Greece in 2001, originally just to sail for a couple of years, but have ended up staying and running a business here.

It is not easy but it is possible. I wish we had had more advice beforehand as we've made loads of mistakes, some expensive ones

We had both run businesses in the UK but I think that was as much a disadvantage as an advantage as things do not work the same way here at all so perhaps you are better not to have any preconceived ideas.

When we came we rented out our house for a few years and that is one of the things I think we did right.

If it is possible for you to do that I would consider it, and rent here, then only sell when you are sure things are working out for you.

Here are some bits of general advice:

1. Greece is not a meritocracy. It works largely through personal contact (who you know) so you need to be sociable and prepared to network. Foreigners are at a disadvantage in many ways as we don't have all the family connections a Greek would use when trying to get things done.

2. The country is very bureacratic and still a cash society. You can waste days dealing with paperwork and making payments. We use Internet banking as much as we can but it isn't always possible. There is a nice aspect to this as well, as the person you go to pay will often ask you to sit and have a coffee with them and chat.

3. The contributions to TEBE, which is the health/pension scheme for people who run businesses are quite high and you have to pay even if you don't make a profit!

4. Greeks can get vey jealous so I would suggest you do not open a business that competes with any existing Greek business or you could find it very difficult.

5. Speaking Greek is a big advantage.

I am sure there is loads more I can tell you. Do ask me.

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Old 17th November 2009, 06:01 PM
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Hi

We moved to Greece July 2009 (this year) took us 2 years to plan, and was very expensive (for us as we had no equity or capital)

Getting a job to pay the bills is near on impossible, not because of work but the rates of pay do not cover costs of bills.

So running your own business would have to be somewhat successful, I am lucky (or unlucky if you like) to be able to commute to UK to work, so we have a decent income to live from as rent and utilities are cheaper.

We are in our 40's and wouldn't change what we have done as our quality of life is so much better.

If I can offer any info please email or post here, I can only say if you dont have children and you are in your 30's then go for it!

Jane

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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 18th November 2009, 06:51 AM
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Default Running a Business in Greece

There is a government programme to help immigrants learn Greek and free lessons in many places. You will need to learn at least some Greek.

Running a business here is often far more complex than in the UK. Let me give you an example:

Many years ago I opened a small shop in Scotland. I needed a till so I looked around for a good buy (nowadays probably ebay has them), bought it, worked out how to set up the VAT codes I needed and how to use it, and off I went. I needed some books to keep financial records. Went to a stationer and bought them and used them.

We needed a till in Greece. You have to go to a specialist shop with your AFM (VAT number) and other details and have it programmed for you. You then have to take the slip from the first transaction you do to the local tax office for verification. After that your accountant must be given all the till rolls. Books? Yes you buy them from a stationer but they also must be taken to the local tax office where they are put through a stamping machine and I had to hand-write numbers on every pages of each book in their presence.

Here are some things I wish I had known before we started our business:

Greece is still very much a cash society. Most bills are settled with cash; cheques are regarded as 'promisary notes. Internet banking is available but not everyone trusts it. You can spend a lot of time dealing with cash payments.

Greece is not a meritocracy. It works through family and connections. Greeks spend a lot of time cultivating connections which is strange to us but without them things are a lot harder. A well-connected accountant and solicitor are essential starting points.

The legal/administrative rules for businesses are based on the assumption that everyone is trying to cheat the system (which largely they are!) so they try to tie you in as many knots as possible.

It is hard to do something new here. If you don't fit into a category that they know of it can be a bit of a struggle to do what you want.

Be very wary of opening a business in direct competition with Greeks. We know of people who have done this and had to cope with everything from being bad-mouthed, being reported regularly leading to checks for every possible licence they need (pretty common), to actually having items sabotaged. This is not just xenophobia (which is a Greek word haha) - they do it to other Greeks as well.

Having said that there are a lot of opportunities simply because most Greeks do what their parents did and are not innovative. If you are thinking of a business that involves other foreigners you will have a much better idea of what they want and how to treat them than Greeks do.

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